In an unsurprising announcement that made Javier Colon's Season 1 "Voice" victory look like a shocking upset, longtime frontrunner Cassadee Pope was crowned the winner of "The Voice" Season 3 on Tuesday night. This was the show's first triumph for a rock singer or for a female artist--following mellow soulmen Javier Colon and Jermaine Paul's respective wins in Seasons 1 and 2--but still, this result was hardly unexpected.
Cassadee had basically been the chosen one of Season 3 since she first impressively auditioned with Natalie Imbruglia's/Ednaswap's "Torn" and inspired all four coaches to hit their red buttons. After joining Blake Shelton's team, she went on to sell more iTunes downloads than any other Season 3 contestant, and with the help of an obvious (and sometimes aggressive) push by the series' powers-that-be, her victory was pretty much a done deal.
Really, only Cassadee herself seemed shocked. "How do you feel?" Carson Daly asked her Tuesday, upon giving her the good news. "I don't know!" she exclaimed, amusingly.
So now Cassadee, the former frontwoman of the Pete Wentz-championed emo band Hey Monday, officially joins the Universal Records roster as a solo artist--and here's hoping that the "Voice" fans out there who eagerly downloaded her iTunes recordings will want to buy her new material as well. I actually think there is a very good chance that that will be the case. Unlike Javier and Jermaine, who were somewhat out of step with today's pop marketplace, Cassadee could go very far if she's given material as strong as that of "American Idol's" Kelly Clarkson or even her own idol Avril Lavigne, both of whom she performed with on Tuesday's "Voice" finale.
Or she may just go country (she sang two country songs, by Miranda Lambert and Faith Hill, on Monday's final showdown) and end up becoming "The Voice's" answer to Carrie Underwood, or at least the equivalent of country-dabbling Kelly Clarkson. I'm sure Blake would love that.
The bottom line is, after the first two "Voice" winners failed to ignite the charts or make a dent at radio, the "Voice" desperately needs a commercially viable champion to give the franchise real-world credibility as it prepares for a fourth season. And of Season 3's top three contenders, Cassadee probably always had the best chance of making that happen. (iTunes numbers don't lie.) So Cassadee's win is a win for "The Voice" in general, in the long run.
Of course, all hope is not lost for Team Blake's other contestant, shaggy Scottish rocker Terry McDermott, who placed second, or for Team Cee Lo's throwback crooner Nicholas David, who came in third.
The ascendance (and also-impressive iTunes sales) of Terry--the former frontman for Geffen Records' Britpop band Driveblind who rocked "Voice" viewers all season long with his arena-ready covers of the Who, Paul McCartney, Journey, and Foreigner--was a heartening sign that the public wants to hear more rock 'n' roll on the radio and in "the real world" again, so it's likely that a Universal Records contract awaits him as well. Additionally, Blake has a long history of helping his past "Voice" protégés (he brought Season 1's Dia Frampton on tour with him, is currently working with Season 2's RaeLynn, and even hired Season 2 semifinalist Gwen Sebastian to be his backup singer), and he and Terry seem to share a real bromance bond, so I am sure he will have Terry's back after this show is over.
As for Nicholas, one of the most unique and least cookie-cutter-ish "Voice" contestants of Season 3, he proved with his unlikely rise to the top three that the public hungers for authentic old soul music as well. Nicholas's duet with R&B icon Smokey Robinson on Tuesday's finale was one of the highlights of the entire two-hour broadcast, and hopefully it was a sign of great things to come for the mellow Minnesotan. Nicholas and his coach, Cee Lo Green, seem to share a strong bond as well, so watch this space to see if Nicholas signs on to Cee Lo's management, just as Team Cee Lo Season 2 finalist Juliet Simms recently did.
Along with the aforementioned performances, other highlights of "The Voice's" music-packed finale included Terry 's rawkin' rendition of KISS's "Rock 'N' Roll All Night" with contestants Amanda Brown, Michaela Paige, Rudy Parris, and Bryan Keith (even if Amanda didn't get enough solo lines); Kelly Clarkson's "Catch My Breath" with Terry and Cassadee; Cassadee's Imagine Dragons cover with Melanie Martinez, Liz Davis, and De'Borah; Terry's collaboration with Peter Frampton on "Baby, I Love Your Way"; Nicholas's "End Of The Road" with Trevin Hunte, Amanda Brown, and Dez Duron; and the "heartbreakers" (Dez Duron, MacKenzie Bourg, Cody Belew, Julio Cesar Castillo, and Diego Val) doing an adorable malt-shop performance of "Stacy's Mom."
However, it was also a sad night, as Tuesday's finale marked the final time that we will see the original lovable judging panel of Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, and Christina Aguilera intact for a good long while. Christina (who actually celebrated her 32nd birthday on Tuesday) and Cee Lo will be sitting out Season 4, which kicks off in March 2013, and new judges Shakira and Usher will be filling their red spinning chairs. "I love you so much, and this has been an amazing experience and it's all just bittersweet," Adam told Christina and Cee Lo. "We've become a family, and we will greatly miss them," added Carson. Then all four judges joined together one last time, for a surprisingly and sweetly poignant cover Green Day's "Time Of Your Life." (Cee Lo and Xtina, you guys better come back.)
Will "The Voice" be the same next year without Team Cee Lo and Team Xtina? That remains to be seen, but Season 3--arguably the best "Voice" season yet--will certainly be tough to top. We'll have to wait until next year to find out, but in the meantime, congratulations to Cassadee on her victory, and to all three finalists for a great run.
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